Development Days Conference 2024: Crises and Futures of/in Development

DevDays 2024_Book of Abstracts


The Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) in collaboration with the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID), the Faculty of Social Sciences – University of Helsinki, and the Inequality & Development Working Groups of the Young Scholars Initiative – Institute for New Economic Thinking (YSI-INET)


Päärakennus (Main Building), University of Helsinki

Conference theme:

In the midst of rapid advances in communications and technology, our global society is grappling with an accumulation of simultaneous and interrelated crises. Today, humanity faces an array of significant challenges, including the climate emergency, the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, the prolonged Ukraine-Russia war, the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and various other longstanding geopolitical tensions. These challenges coexist in a complex and uneven landscape, persisting alongside poverty, privation, inequalities, and injustices across countries. Yet it is important to recognize that it is not only the actual subjects and concerns of social science research that are in crisis, but also the study and practice of development itself.

The past, present, and future of development as a field of scholarly and practical endeavour are inextricably linked to how the so-called ‘polycrisis’ in the economic, ecological, societal, and political spheres has evolved over time. The slogan ‘rethinking development’ may sound cliché, yet a critical self-examination of our development thinking, relations and engagement is an essential part of the solution to these problems. 

The 2024 Development Days (#DevDays2024) conference is dedicated to sharing research results and ideas about and in response to crises and futures of/in development studies, policy, and advocacy. To this end, while development actors and stakeholders need to have moments of introspection to reflect upon the history of crises of/in development, it is equally important to have a forward-looking perspective on how to envision and strategize for futures of/in development.

  • Crises and futures of/in development as a process and policy could refer to the causes and effects of specific development efforts and interventions in particular cases. Presentations and discussions on this theme may also touch on the implications of political dynamics for the sustainability of—and availability of resources for—international development cooperation. 
  • Crises and futures of/in development as an academic concept and discipline involves issues in the research and teaching of development studies. This may range from questioning established theories and paradigms to reflecting upon how externally generated factors, such as changes in global institutional agendas and university-level funding cuts, impact on the activities and opportunities of researchers and students. 
  • Crises and futures of/in development as a profession and vocation may problematize the current sociopolitical context in donor countries like Finland and other Nordic countries, and the European Union where there has been resurgence of nationalism, right-wing populism, and conservatism. These phenomena are conditioning public perceptions contradictory to the principle of global responsibility, justice and solidarity.

Indeed, how we respond to and navigate multiple facets of crises can profoundly influence the trajectory and outcome of development in the years to come.

The #DevDays2024 conference will feature a keynote lecture by Professor Barry K. Gills and a roundtable to honor his contributions to global development studies. Eminent scholars Jayati Ghosh and Alfredo Saad-Filho will also be this year’s keynote speakers. 

Registration open until 6 February 2024.

In the spirit of democratizing, diversifying and decolonizing development knowledge, we welcome online participation and hybrid engagement, fostering collaboration with colleagues from the Global South.

For more information and updates, please visit the conference website regularly, follow the FSDR’s social media pages, or contact